Thanks for your service

I attended the first of many Veteran’s Day extravaganzas at one of our local schools last night, and it was great.

I always get chill bumps when they call for those who have served in the armed forces &045; in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard &045; to stand.

Fourth graders at Greystone Elementary sang the songs representing each of the armed forces. They sang songs about the American Flag and other patriotic tunes with which everyone could sing along.

They were inspiring.

There will be many more of these Veteran’s Day activities

in every Shelby County community during the next two weeks, and I would encourage everyone to choose one and attend, if not for your own enjoyment then to honor a Veteran.

All of us know a veteran. We see them every day in the grocery store, driving down the road, in the courthouse &045; all over the place.

But do we stop and say thank you?

We should. After all, like one of the little girls read from her essay last night, because of their sacrifice, we enjoy our basic rights, free speech and the freedom to worship when and where we choose.

These veterans have made that possible, not only for us but also for citizens of other countries.

After all, if it weren’t for those Americans who fought and died in the European theater during World War II, the French people would be speaking German.

At times like these, when our country is once again facing evil in the personification of Sadaam Hussein, there are citizens who have put themselves on the line just because it’s their job.

We owe them a lot. That is never more clear than when we go to the polls to choose our leaders.

When I finish with the newspaper and travel over to the church where I vote, I will sit and relish the feeling of actually having a say in who will lead my state.

Even the distasteful turn that these 2002 elections have taken in Alabama is far better than elections in countries like Iraq.

Recent elections held there featured only one name on the ballot, Hussein’s. He won by a landslide, of course. Big surprise.

Because people like my Grandaddy Howell and Pappy Parker fought for our country during World War II, I have a chance to make a difference with my vote.

Thank you, Grandaddy, and thank you, Pappy. Thank you, all veterans.

Your service and loyalty to America will always be admired and we honor you, not just on Veteran’s Day but everyday